Pro Football Hall of Fame: The college careers of the 2017 class
Super Bowl Sunday is here, which means in addition to a great game we get the unveiling of a new class of Pro Football Hall of Fame members.
The 2017 class features six players who clearly made their mark and then some on the NFL landscape. But before putting on the pads professionally, these players each enjoyed tremendous Division I college careers.
Here's a quick look at the varsity days for each of the newest inductees.
Statistics are via sports-reference.com and school sites
Morten Andersen | Michigan State, 1978-81
45-72 FG, 126-130 XP, 261 points
Andersen, the NFL's all-time scoring leader, ranks seventh in the category in Spartans history. He was named a first-team All-American as a senior in 1981 and still holds the Big Ten record with a booming 63-yard kick against Ohio State that year.
Terrell Davis | Long Beach State and Georgia, 1991-94
2,540 yards, 21 TDs
The Denver Broncos great started his college career at Long Beach State, but he was forced to transfer when the 49ers disbanded their football program. He found a home in Athens, Georgia, for the Bulldogs, where he exceled the next three years. His breakout year came as a junior, when he had just under 1,000 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns. Davis played a big part in the passing game during his time in college, picking up 621 receiving yards and 1,919 rushing.
Kenny Easley | UCLA, 1977-80
19 INT, 185 yards, 454 punt return yards
Easley was an absolute beast at UCLA, flying out of the gates with 13 interceptions in his first two years en route to setting the UCLA career record. The safety was also a great punt returner, posting an average of 10.1 yards per return over his four years in the role. He was named All-Conference each year, a three-time consensus All-American and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1991.
Jason Taylor | Akron, 1993-96
279 tackles, 21 sacks, 3 INT
Bouncing between linebacker and defensive line, Taylor was incredible either way. The Pittsburgh native was picked for the All-MAC first team in each of his final two seasons and was also an All-American as a junior. A two-sport athlete on the Akron baskeball team, Taylor was inducted into the Zips' Ring of Honor in 2004.
LaDainian Tomlinson | TCU, 1997-2000
5,387 rushing yards, 56 TDs, 5.7 yards per carry
Tomlinson's junior and senior seasons in Fort Worth, Texas were legendary. He combined for 4,132 rushing yards over those two campaigns, finding the end zone 42 times. He led the nation in rushing each of those years, won the Doak Walker Award for the top running back as a senior and finished his career sixth on the all-time leading rusher list (now 10th). Tomlinson was a 2014 College Football Hall of Fame inductee.
Kurt Warner | Northern Iowa, 1989-1993
Statistics not available
Warner's story is well documented, an undrafted quarterback who had to work in a grocery store to get by and play in the Arena Football League to get an NFL chance. But even before all that, he had to scratch and claw his way just to get an opportunity at Northern Iowa. He was third in the depth chart until his senior year, when he got a chance to start. Once he got that chance, he made the best of it, winning the conference offensive player of the year honors and leading the Panthers to the FCS playoffs.
Notably, the seventh member of the Hall of Fame class, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, also had a successful college playing career. Jones played at Arkansas from 1961-64, receiving co-captain honors on the Razorbacks 1964 championship team. He started on the offensive line for that squad, receiving All-Conference honors.